Bike recommendations for spider lake trail

Wow… didn’t know Cyclesmith wasn’t selling Specialized anymore. They’ve been selling that brand for years. If you get a Fuel, make sure it’s got the ABP/Full Floater suspension (which I think all the new models do). Like Riderx says there are lots of bikes out there that should suit your needs. The Norcos use the Specialized Horst Link suspension that I’m partial to, although many of the models use frame bends that look weird to me. People seem to like Giant Trances and Reigns too.


I moved to Halifax from Ontario a few months ago. Recently I have been thinking about starting doing some mountain biking again (I haven’t done any mountain biking for a long time). I searched on the internet for the trails to go, and watched videos of local trails. It seems to me that the spider lake trail is the kind of singletrack that I would like to ride on. I am thinking of buying a full suspension 29ers for trails like it. I am however not sure whether an XC full sus (100mm travel such as Trek Superfly 100 AL, Rocky Mountain Element 930), or a trail bike (120+ travel such as Stumpjumper FSR, Trek Rumblefish, rocky Mountain Altitude - Altitude is too expensive for me if I want the 29er version) makes more sense.

I guess I should take my 10-year old Hardrock (bought when I was a student) to see the trail myself, but I would like to wait till spring to do so (I will buy a bike in spring, but I simply can’t help thinking of this now, haha). I also have no experience with full suspension, so recommendations would be very helpful.

I discovered this nice forums with cyclers in this area. I wonder whether anyone could help me with some recommendations. Thanks!

Have a nice weekend!

Hey there!

With this weather, you can still peek around some spots and check things out. A ten year old Hardrock is still a pretty decent trail rig if you don’t mind it a bit rough, but a lot of folks run duallies here. A XC scoot might suffice, but out here we have a lot of technical singletrack with, um, “interesting” features. Actually, we have a real gem of trails in HRM and across the province. That being said, a trail bike seems to suit 90% of people needs for a fair chunk of the riding population. I ride two fully rigid bikes, but I ain’t right smart-like.

Spider Lake can be a sweet spot to ride, and when you factor in Skull Trail along with the rest of Spider, it can make for a fun day of riding.

The terrain here can favour a 29er in a lot of situations, as the rooty, rocky east coast stuff can use the big wheels to smooth out the ride. In the same breath, trails like Whopper and Fight Trail can be more 26er friendly, with the bigger drops, steeps, bridges and whatnot. Depends on what sort of riding you like to do most of the time. Neither one is a bad choice.

Sportwheels does a Tuesday Night ride every week all year at 7:00 PM. Rain, snow or shine. This time of year you will need a decent headlight, though. Call them at 865-9033 and see if they have a loaner if you want to try it out.

The Bicycles Plus Club has a Wednesday Night ride for members, but it’s in the off season right now, so it’s mostly just members hooking up for rides on the forums. and go to the club link to check it out.

If you are a XC type of guy, and like racing, or even just the thought of trying it out, Cyclesmith has a great Short Track Cross Country series here in the heart of Halifax in the summer. There are numerous XC Bicycle Nova Scotia point series races right across the province highlighting some of the best trails the province has to offer. There are usually some longer endurance events, such as Conquer The Pass, and Across the Highlands, and for years we have all enjoyed Gorefest, a weekend MTB festival complete with 8 hour events, clinics and swap meets/vendor clinics.

If you are more of a trail rider, you can meet with members here and go out for a spin. Also, the gang up in the Valley with AVMBA are all really, really great people. Be sure to check out the trails section here and see what’s around, and maybe see if anyone knows what kind of shape things are in. Whopper is usually good to go on the main section, even after days of rain. Good ol’ granite.

So, we have flowy singletrack, epic XC with a mix of singletrack, doubletrack and woods roads, all-mountain type riding, some freeride trails, downhill stuff and all close to the city mostly, with a few gems well withing driving distance. Be sure to check out Keppoch, (spelling???), Fitzpatric Mountain in Scotsburn, the Gourge, P2 and the Links in the Valley and all the local stuff.

That Hardrock will make a sweet winter rider this year, if we ever get one. Make up some studded tires, get a light, and come on out to Spider Lake, Wrandee’s and whatever else has been tramped down and froze up. And keep your eyes peeled for the ever-fun ice racing that takes place every year.

I’m sure some of us here would love to get you out for a good spin sometime. Just post up!

Oh, and in regards to experience with full suspension bikes. I’ve had a few. A wee bit more maintenence, can be a bit finickier in the colder weather, but the first time you ride one, specially a long-legged beasty, you feel like you are riding a monster truck. It will go over anything, in comparison. That said, the only suspension bike I ride now is my commuter, and only with a fork! I like the feel, the nimbleness, the reward of riding a good line and getting up/down tricky stuff. And I like to ride em hard, and put’em away wet, so it’s less headaches. I work on bikes all day, so the less I gotta mess with mine, the more I can just ride the silly contraption.

I sincerely hope you come to love Nova Scotia and all it has to offer.


Hi Aaron,

Thank you so much for your very helpful information and suggestions! A trail bike it is then, I guess. I am unfotunately unable to go out for biking these days, having to finish some work before Christmast vacation. Hope to see some of you in the spring!

Hey Myriad. Welcome.

Actually, January and February are probably the best times to buy bikes, since the stores are trying to clear stock for spring, and you can get some good deals. The only problem is you may not be able to get a test ride in because of the salt and snow on the roads. You might think about doing some test riding now, and buy in the winter.

I ride a Specialized Stumpjumper full suspension, 120mm travel both ends. It seems to suit me really well. A lot of our trails are rough with rocks and roots. My body’s got a lot more mileage than Aaron’s and I really appreciate the full suspension.

I’ve never tried a 29’er, but I know a few people who ride and love them. From what I understand, 29’ers handle rough stuff really well, which is good for our trails, but they accelerate a little more slowly and don’t turn quite so well as a 26’er. The 29’er riders may correct me on this, but many of our trails around here are tight and twisty, and I have to think that for most of our trails a 26’er might work better because we don’t have as much wide open trail to maintain speed. You’re always accelerating, decelerating and turning around here.

Right now, we’re waiting for “hero dirt”. That’s when it gets cold enough to freeze the ground, but before we get snow down. Some of the best riding of the year is in hero dirt season. No bugs, great traction (as long as you watch for ice), and you can be very comfortable in the cold once you get moving. Once the snow goes down, I’ll get my studded tires on - great riding in the winter here, and your Hardrock would be perfect (if it’s got disks - and still good if you don’t) for it. Full suspensions can be finicky in the cold weather.

Hope this helps and see you on the trails.

Thank you very much, Rockhopper. Looks like I should look for a 26er then.

I had thought of specialized Stumpjumper FSR, but then I found that there is no authorized Specialized dealer in town (cyclesmith is not going to sell 2012 specialized bikes, according to what they told me). Has anyone used some model of Trek Fuel Ex on spider lake trails?

Welcome to the neighbourhood!

We have some great trails around and some that aren’t too far away as well.

We are in for some epic riding very soon. There are some trails that are just a pain to ride in the summer, but with studded tires, they are like riding a bobsled track once the mercury stays below zero. Look for some Ice Racing as well; if not to participate, but to spectate.

As far as bikes I would suggest trying a bunch of different bikes from all the major companies. All major manufacturers make a full suspension model that would certainly handle your needs. There will certainly be deals to be made on older stock with the 2012 bikes having already arrived.

Overall, take your time, test ride a lot of bikes and make sure whatever you choose fits you and your riding needs.

See you on the trail!